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Cairns Council Members Swing Right

Champion of the Underdog » Cairns Council Members Swing Right

Cairns Council Members Change

I had previously described the Manning Cairns Council elected in 2020 as a moderate council, despite the Conservative views of most Cairns Councillors. However, by the middle of 2023 I felt a change in the air. The combination of The Voice Referendum and the upcoming Queensland Local Government Elections gave Council a decidedly political feel. In addition, the mayor was retiring and two sitting Councillors were running for his position. It was a recipe for conflict.

Rates Equity

Councils charge rates based on a number of categories. Many councils included a special rate for rental properties. This meant the landlord charged a small amount more than normal residential. I supported the landlord rate. I had always been on the side of the tenant and the homeowner, not the landlord.

One benefit of being a progressive is that you do win the debate … eventually. This was the case on the issues I fought for. Unfortunately, the passage of time often ensures you are well past your prime before this happens. Nevertheless, I was happy to receive a disability advocacy award at this time and get a positive mention in the Canberra Times for my work for victims of child abuse.

Cairns Council Members Trash Reconciliation

I am not sure if it was the voice referendum or the upcoming state and local government elections, but I could feel council become more political.

Reconciliation Action Plan

At the meeting on 23 July 2023 there was an item on the agenda to extend Councils Reconciliation Action Plan.

Cairns Council Reconciliation
Cairns Council Reconciliation
What is a Reconciliation Action Plan?

A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a document that provides a framework for organisations to be inclusive and to contribute to reconciliation. A RAP enables organisations to sustainably and strategically take meaningful action. RAPs provide tangible and substantive benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, increasing economic equity and supporting First Nations self-determination.

First Peoples Advisory Committee

Council established a First Peoples Advisory Committee (FPAC) as an important way to engage and consult with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

FPAC provides comment, feedback and direction on issues that relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their communities. It also works to enhance opportunities for participation and collaboration between local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Council.

first peoples engagement
First Peoples Engagement

Cairns Council Members Deny Climate Emergency

At the meeting on 23 August 2023 I sought to have Council declare a “Climate Emergency”.

That Council declare a Climate Emergency and investigate ways to alert and assist elderly and other vulnerable residents to the dangers of extreme heat in preparation for the upcoming summer months. 


Across Australia, over 104 local governments have declared a climate emergency. These declarations collectively represent a significant population of over 9.9 million Australians, highlighting the widespread recognition of the urgent need to address the climate crisis at the local level. 

The climate is already dangerous – in Australia and the Antarctic, in Asia and the Pacific – right around the world. The Earth is unacceptably too hot now. 

If the climate warms above 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, the Great Barrier Reef will likely be lost, sea levels will rise faster and massive global carbon stores such as the Amazon and Greenland, will hit tipping points, releasing millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere. 

National security analysts warn at 3C may result in “outright social chaos”, and 4C is considered incompatible with the maintenance of human civilisation. Climate change must be accepted as an overriding threat to national and human security, with the response being the highest priority at national and global levels. 

At the moment the world is heading for rise in excess of 3C this century. It is a global average covering extreme variations across regions and seasons. According to the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) there will be more severe and frequent extreme weather events in the near future like floods, droughts, wildfires and hurricanes.

A faction of a degree in average global warming can have massive consequence. Extreme weather events will get more severe, and more frequent, with rising temperatures. Climate change is urgent and is without doubt the biggest threat to human survival and prosperity. 

This climate emergency is an extraordinary threat that calls for extraordinary measures with potentially far reaching societal, political, and democratic consequences. 

Extreme heat affects older people more than others. Some people aged 65 years and over may be at increased risk of heat-related illness. 

lost with Councillors Manning, Olds, Coghlan, O’Halloran, Vallely, Eden, James, Zeiger and Moller voting against the motion 

I could not believe that other Councillors could still be in denial. Despite record temperatures, unprecedented wildfires and cyclonic storms, my right-wing colleagues could not bring themselves to acknowledge our city was also in the mist of a Climate Emergency.

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Struggle & Resistance in the Far North